Kevin Pratt, personal finance expert at Forbes Advisor, says: “Today’s Consumer Prices Index inflation figure from the Office for National Statistics – a fall from 10.5% to 10.1% – will offer only a crumb of relief for the UK’s beleaguered business community. The reality is that inflation, at over 10% now for the fifth month on the trot, remains a huge problem for companies across the economy.
“Businesses are consumers too, of all manner of products and services, so they’re ensnared by the cost of living crisis in the same way as their customers. And they remained faced with the stark and unhappy choice of either passing on the higher prices they are paying, or absorbing increased costs by making smaller profits.
“Neither option is sustainable.
“Much of the financial pain currently being felt by UK businesses of all sizes comes in the form of higher energy bills. Whether they run an enterprise from home or have separate premises, the cost of powering the operation has become a massive part of their overheads.
“And with government support for business energy bills reducing considerably in April, many firms will be worried about their medium-term viability.
“We can only hope inflation continues its recent downward trajectory, and that this is coupled with a steep and sustained decline in wholesale energy prices as the year progresses. Analysts suggest we may see significant falls in the spring and summer, but if we don’t, the government may need to rethink its business support programme to avert a catastrophe for UK businesses.”